Gelfand, Nakamura and the 6.Bg5 abyss

by ChessBase
5/27/2009 – In this week's Playchess lecture Dennis Monokroussos shows us a game between two winners: Hikaru Nakamura, who recently won the US Championship, and Boris Gelfand, who took the ACP World Rapid. They play one of the most complicated and theory-intensive variations in all of chess, a Najdorf with 6.Bg5. Be there to watch at 9 p.m. ET.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

The last week or two have seen both Hikaru Nakamura and Boris Gelfand win prestigious events: the U.S. Championship for Nakamura and the 3rd ACP World Rapid Cup for Gelfand. Both players like sharp chess, and it's not surprising that when they meet the result is an exciting and uncompromising game.

It's just such a game that we'll look at in this week's ChessBase show. Gelfand played the Najdorf, and Nakamura went into the abyss that is 6.Bg5. Herein one finds some of the most complicated and theory-intensive variations in all of chess, and as Gelfand regularly plays the variation 6...e6 7.f4 Nbd7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0-0-0 b5, Nakamura decided to put his opponent to the test. Gelfand passed, and when Nakamura pressed a bit too far, he won. As we'll see, the victory was a triumph on multiple levels: good preparation, good calculation, and good nerves, too. For us, it's not only an illustration of fine and entertaining play; it also illustrates the kind of all-out assault Black must survive in the 6.Bg5 Najdorf, along with the tremendous resources he enjoys – if only he knows how to use them.

So for the Najdorf players and others, join me tonight and take a step along that path. Watching is easy, too: just log on to the PlayChess server at 9 p.m. ET (tonight, Wednesday night; for those of you in Europe, it's 3 a.m. CET), go to the Broadcasts room and either look for my handle (Initiative) or Nakamura-Gelfand in the Games tab.

Hope to see you there!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).

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Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

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